Dog bites are common sources of legal disputes. They’re the number one homeowner’s insurance claim. About one-third of homeowners insurance claims are for dog bites. The numbers are even rising with about 18,000 dog bite-related claims in 2016, up from about 15,000 the year before according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you own a dog, you certainly need to consider if your insurance coverage is adequate to cover a claim, should a dog bite event occur. Nerd Wallet points out that your homeowner coverage might need to be adjusted if you have minimal coverage as a renter. You also might want to bump up your coverage amount if you have a medium to large-sized dog. The sobering fact is that if your dog causes injuries that result in a judgment that exceeds your coverage, you certainly could lose your home.
Take Steps to Ensure Your Dog Doesn’t Bite Anyone
WikiHow offers a list of points to address to prevent dog bites. Basically, education and training are the keys. If you have a dog with you, use caution when another dog is nearby. Communicate with the other dog’s owner and ask permission before letting the dogs interact. Dogs give signals or behavior indications that they may bite. Teach children to watch out for the unpredictable danger of dogs they don’t know. Not every dog wants to be hugged. In the same vein, never startle a sleeping dog. It also will help to get yourself and your dog into a behavior training program.
What To Do if Your Dog Bites
As with a traffic accident, remain calm and do your best to control the situation. Restrain the dog and attend to the injured person. Do not blame or argue, which could escalate the situation. If medical attention is needed, make sure they are called. A good first step, once things calm down, review the facts of the situation that may get you and your dog off the hook. Did the visitor provoke the dog? Were they being careless around your dog? Were they trespassing and therefore perceived as a threat by the dog? Understand the one-bite rule. According to the blog Nolo.com, this doesn’t mean that the dog gets away with their first offense. It means that the owner is responsible if their dog is suspected to be a danger. Barking isn’t necessarily a sign. Neither is a dog who may have nipped people during their puppy stage. In addition to a history of biting, jumping on people, chasing cars or bicycles, or if your dog is prone to fight with other dogs, these can all be indicators that the owner should take extra precautions against a potential dog bite liability case.
What To Do If Someone’s Dog Bites or Badly Injures You
Let’s say someone else’s dog bites you. If the injury warranted a visit to the ER, you will want to meet with the dog’s owner. You may settle or agree to reimbursement without involving outside parties. This will save a great deal of time and money.Make sure you address all the expenses. Was there any property damage? Were your glasses broken, for example, or was your clothing torn? Did you have to purchase any medication? Did you miss any work while recuperating?If you are not getting a satisfying resolution from the dog’s owner, you should contact an attorney and explain the situation. They will help you decide if you have a case for legal action. If so, they will lead you through the process and hopefully will get you a fair settlement and the satisfaction of winning the legal judgment. As with most things, the best way to prevent a dog bite liability situation is to plan ahead and take what steps you can. However, things happen. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need legal help, contact a reputable law firm with personal injury experience. We would be glad to help. PHOTO: Pixabay / CCo Public Domain